The word that comes to mind when you look at the new provincial Conservative party website or the davis165.ca site isn’t fresh, new, rebounding, or even trying.
It is “alone”.
You see lots of pictures of Paul Davis.
And even in the video that is supposedly about Paul Davis’ views on leadership, you get lots of shots of Paul Davis by himself. Even in the few shots where others are present, they are smaller and insignificant.
Here’s a screen capture of the davis15.ca site and the leadership video. The image the video is set up to highlight really makes that disparity in people plainly obvious. Darin Luther King is vertically challenged at the best of times but if you look at King, Dan Crummell, Susan Sullivan, and Steve Kent, they look a bit like like hobbits in comparison to gigantor Davis.
It’s all a very odd effect.
And it’s not like they seem to be going for some kind of metaphorical artsy thing about how lonely it is at the top. we see Paul going in the office, with his arms loaded with a briefcase and papers, and flicking on the light to his office. There’s another shot of him by some kind of open fireplace doing paperwork of some kind.
No wife at home?
We can see him talking to a couple of people in the tunnel between the East Block and the West Block.
But it’s a still, not video like the rest.
It’s like those shots are memories of another, earlier time before the zombies took over the world.
The lone man leading is also a bit of an odd choice because leadership isn’t really an issue that Davis and the Conservatives own, let alone might be able to own.
The latest Angus Reid poll – released the same day as the leadership campaign thingy – shows that far more people are displeased with Davis as Premier than are pleased with him. A convenient little chart in the news release shows Davis’ numbers in Angus Reid polls have gone down in the past year.
if you look at other polling, like say Abacus Data, you will that after almost a year in office, Davis is is viewed equally positively, negatively, and neutrally by the electorate.. CRA polling shows Davis is badly trailing Dwight Ball (43 to 26) heading into the election.
The Conservatives have had a year to define Paul Davis. They have failed to do anything significant. The winter and spring sittings of the legislature proved to be a bust. Davis has, generally, been far less visible than any of his predecessors. He is far less visible than his deputy premier. All of that has worked against Davis and it makes the Conservative campaign a year late and more than a few bucks short.
As it appears, the Conservatives have just recycled the same ego campaign they have run in every election since 2003. That worked fine in 2003 and 2007 when they owned that issue and could make it decisive politically. The Dunderdale-glorious-leader theme didn’t matter in 2011 because the other parties had, in one way or another, already conceded the election before it started.
In 2015, the Conservatives decided to stick to the same path even though the entire strategic landscape had changed for them. That’s been their problem since 2010. The Conservatives needed to change. They refused to do so. As a result, their support has evaporated. The party is having trouble getting candidates and volunteers.
And there is Paul Davis, Conservative party leader in a video explaining his philosophy of leadership to… nobody.
Whoever made the video made one of the finest metaphors for the state of the Conservatives anyone could imagine. It’s just that they probably didn’t mean to do that.